Right on time, the irises are blooming in my backyard, and I love cutting a few stems to bring inside where I can enjoy their flowers and heavenly scent while I’m in the kitchen.
Besides enjoying them for their beauty, these irises have a very special place in my heart. All those years ago, while in the throws of my epic mid-life crisis, they reminded me that my identity and my worth are not tied to what I do, but rather who I am. Every year since then, whenever my iris bloom, I smile to myself. And I thank God for meeting me in the garden that day and for helping me to see myself differently.
If you’ve been following along with my blog for a while, you have probably seen this post pop up a few other times. I know it sounds dramatic to say that this, but this is the blog post that changed my life.
I didn’t know it at the time, but that was the day that my life took on a whole new course, and I am and will forever continue to be profoundly and eternally grateful.
Two of my favorite flowers are going gangbusters in my back garden right now – Bearded Iris and ‘May Night’ Salvia.
I just love bearded irises.
This variety (I wish I could find the tag I saved with name of it) is particularly beautiful with its pale violet, ruffled edges. And the fragrance this flower gives off is intoxicating. I like to put my nose right in the middle of it and inhale the delicately sweet scent.
And this salvia…
…I think I’ve mentioned before that I kinda have a thing for blue-ish, purple-y spikey flowers and this salvia is no exception. I really love these regal purple spikes. And although the flowers themselves are not really fragrant, because Salvias are in the same genus of plants as the common cooking herb Sage, the leaves give off a kind of woodsy/minty aroma.
The other day I was just walking around my flowerbed and admiring their beautiful blossoms. Pulling a few weeds here and there. And then I noticed that the Salvia was quite literally abuzz with little honey bees darting in and around all around the flowers. It made me smile thinking how proud my little Salvia plants must be to have such a grand purpose in the garden.
Why yes…I am projecting my own existential insecurities on my garden flowers now.
Then I looked over at my stately bearded Irises standing there so dignified and gracious. Although they didn’t appear to display the obvious function of providing nectar for honeybees, my Irises did not at all seem to be riddled with self-doubt about their purpose in life. After that, I just smiled to myself thinking how I’d really gone off the deep end this time. And I said a little thank you to God for Irises because they just make me so happy with their beautiful flowers and delightful fragrance.
And then it occurred to me…maybe that is their purpose.
When I thought about it a little more, neither the Iris nor the Salvia really tries to do anything to fulfill their purpose. Just being an Iris or a Salvia is quite enough – expressing their essential Iris-ness and Salvia-ness is their purpose, and God uses each one according its particular design and unique qualities.
I may or may not ever truly discover what my purpose is on this earth. But I think I am done with trying to do things to have purpose. Because the truth is that worrying about whether or not I’m doing enough to fulfill my purpose is just wearing me out. So instead, I have humbly offered my gifts and talents to God (gifts that I received from Him in the first place) to use as He sees fits. And from now on I am going to concentrate on just being. Expressing my essential Kelly-ness in all its tenderhearted, messy, hormonal, sentimental, womperjawed glory.